AUGUST 1, 2001
What's new ...
and not so new
So what's the difference? Director creates Shockwave files (.dcr), and Flash creates Flash files (.swf). They require different browser plugins for viewing on the Web, but both viewers enjoy pretty widespread distribution. (Macromedia says 200 million people have the Shockwave plugin for viewing Director files; in addition, the Shockwave viewer automatically downloads new components to allow users to view content that might be newer than their current viewer allows.) Both create interactive presentations for the Web. Both are capable of being distributed as standalone applications. (I bet you didn't know that about Flash.) And, particularly with the release of Flash 5, both offer some pretty powerful interactive features.
True, true. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you can't do this or that in Flash. With enough programming, you probably can. But you can do it more easily in Director; you can do it for multiple users in Director; you can do it with more types of media in Director; and you can just do more in Director. And, with the release of Director 8.5, the gap widens much further.
Just as an example, let's say you want users to be able to grab an object and toss it, allowing it to bounce around the stage area, knock into other objects and then return to its original position with a mouse click or key stroke. You know how you do this in Director? You click and drag three library behaviors onto your object, just as if you were dragging a Layer Style onto a picture in Photoshop. That's it. You can control speed, restrictions, interactions with other objects and a whole host of other parameters just by adjusting sliders or filling in values in pop-up dialogs. Or you can just leave all of these values at default.
What could be more simple?
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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.